The Public Administration Unit was established under the Technical Assistance Administration (TAA) to implement the UN Programme in Public Administration.
The Unit was transformed into Public Administration Division and was transferred to the Bureau of Technical Assistance Operation (BTAO) under the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).
In early 1959, The Public Administration Division became the Office of Public Administration headed by an Under-Secretary who reports directly to the Secretary-General. Later in 1959, the Public Administration Division reverted to its former status of a “Division” and became a substantive unit of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs headed by a Director.
The Public Administration Division combined functional and geographic principles. Until 1960, the work of the Public Administration Division was divided generally on a geographical basis, and each officer was assigned to handle work related to a principal region of the world in which technical assistance operations were being carried out.
The Division established three functional sections – Personnel Administration and Training Section, Organization and Methods Section and Local Government Section as well as a unit for Office of Project Execution (OPEX).
The Division was reorganized as a Public Administration Branch, and placed under the Bureau of Technical Assistance Operations.
The Section for Development Administration was established under the Public Administration Branch.
The Public Administration Branch was designated as the Public Administration
Division reporting to the Commissioner for Technical Cooperation
The Public Administration Division was renamed the Division of Public Administration and Finance and placed under the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The Division of Public Administration and Finance was transferred with effect from 1 July 1978, from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs to the newly-established Department of Technical Cooperation for Development (DTCD) and was renamed Development Administration Division. The Division comprises: (1) Public Administration Systems and Training Branch; (2) Public Financial and Enterprise Management Branch, and (3) Population Branch.
The Development Administration Division and the Centre on Transnational Corporations were merged into the Transnational Corporations and Management Division (TCMD) within the newly created Department of Economic and Social Development (DESD).
The General Assembly established the Department for Development Support and Management Services (DDSMS) with the mandate to provide technical advice and support in the field of public management and governance. DDSMS comprised two substantive divisions, one of which was the Division of Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM).
The Division of Public Administration and Development Management was renamed “Division for Governance, Public Administration and Finance” (DGPAF).
The Department of Economic and Social Affairs was established consolidating the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development, the Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis and the Department for Development Support and Management Services in which the Division for Governance, Public Administration and Finance (DGPAF) belonged.
The Division for Governance and Public Administration and Finance (DGPAF) was renamed Division of Public Economics and Public Administration (DPEPA). As a result of the reorganization in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Public Policy Analysis and Development Branch, formerly Microeconomic Analysis Branch of the Microeconomic and Social Analysis Division joined DPEPA. The new branch will focus on socio-economic Governance as well as on specific analysis and formulation of public policies.
The Division of Public Economics and Public Administration (DPEPA) was renamed Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM). Currently, the Division comprises three Branches, namely: Governance and Public Administration, Socio-Economic Governance and Management, and Knowledge Management.